Spousal maintenance is a concept that arises following a divorce or separation and is essentially a financial benefit paid from one person to their former partner for when one partner is struggling financially.
This is all good and well, but you may be wondering how exactly spousal maintenance in Australia is calculated?
Thankfully, there are ‘spousal maintenance calculator Australia’ tools that can you use to provide a rough estimate of the spousal maintenance cost or benefit. This article will give some clarity on such tools, and spousal maintenance in general.
When Is Someone Entitled To Spousal Maintenance?
Firstly, the partner paying the spousal maintenance benefit must have the financial means necessary to support the partner receiving the spousal maintenance. Accordingly, the Court must be satisfied that they have the additional income to contribute to your expenses and adequately provide for themselves.
Secondly, a spousal maintenance application must be made within a specified period, depending on whether it is a de facto relationship or marriage.
For de facto relationships, this period is twenty-four months. It may be challenging to agree on an exact date of separation for this requirement. Hence, where there is a disagreement on this date, the Family Court will consider any supporting evidence to determine the date of separation.
Concerning divorce, spousal maintenance must be awarded within twelve months of the divorce.
How Is Spousal Maintenance Calculated In Australia?
The Court’s will consider several factors in determining what the spousal maintenance figure will be. These factors include:
- The resources of and assets of both parties, including any property and their income;
- The earning capacity or potential of each individual
- Whether one party is the primary carer for a child
- The duration of the relationship
- Whether the relationship has affected either parties’ ability for earning
- Any other obligations of either party to support others
- Any pre-existing financial agreements made between the parties, such as a binding financial agreement
Although many factors are considered in calculating spousal maintenance in Australia, the primary consideration usually hinges on assessing both parties’ assets and income relative to their expenses. Accordingly, there is no spousal maintenance calculator Australian tool which can be relied upon for complete certainty, and every situation will need to be assessed on an individual basis.
More About The Spousal Maintenance Calculator Australia Tool
All spousal maintenance calculator Australian tools will not reveal the exact figure of spousal maintenance that can be expected to be paid or received depending on the situation. However, a spousal maintenance calculator Australian tool can provide a very close estimate of what you can expect to pay or receive. Therefore it would be a good idea to utilise a tool to obtain a rough idea of your future obligations or entitlements and plan accordingly.
For the best estimate possible, it would be best to reach out to an experienced family lawyer and discuss your particular circumstances. This way, a professional can give you the most realistic expectations based on their Court experience, which simple online spousal maintenance calculator tools cannot provide.
How Is Spousal Maintenance Paid?
Once the order is finalised, and the Court has set an amount to be paid for the spousal maintenance, all there is left to determine is how the spousal maintenance will be paid. There are several ways spousal maintenance may be paid; these include:
- Regular periodic payments – for instance, every week, fortnight or month;
- A lump-sum amount – once;
- Covering expenses such as accommodation, loan repayments, health insurance or costs related to vehicles
What Are The Next Steps?
When discussing matters such as the ‘spousal maintenance calculator Australia,’ it is essential to note that any figures shows in the calculator are a mere estimate and won’t be exactly what the Court ordered payment.
Suppose you believe you qualify for spousal maintenance and wish to apply. In that case, you should get in touch with an experienced family lawyer to advise you on the merits of your case and assist you with the application process.
Here at JB Solicitors, we’ll make the process as pain-free as possible. We have fixed-fee pricing for family law, giving you a clear sense of the costs from the start, and we will be sure to help you out every step of the way. With years of experience under our belt, we pride ourselves on making each client’s family law experience as positive as possible.
Contact JB Solicitors today to speak with one of our friendly and experienced family lawyers.
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